Va Judge Sentences Five Somali Pirates to Life
Last week, when writing about the new case filed in Virginia against a group of Somali pirates who are accused of killing two American couples after hijacking their boat, I quoted at length from pleadings in a 2010 Virginia case where the defendants, young Somali men convicted of pirating a ship in the Indian Ocean, were awaiting sentencing.
Five defendants, all in their young 20's, all facing life sentences. $27,000 per year for 40 years for 5 defendants equals - $5,400,000.00. And that's just the cost of housing them. It doesn't include the cost of prosecution or defense or their medical care while in prison.
Now we have a new Norfolk case with 14 young Somali defendants, captured in the Indian Ocean, and flown to the U.S. for criminal prosecution. With the jurisdictional and venue issues already decided against them in earlier cases, with no local interpreters and no local Somali population to sit on their jury, their fate will probably be the same. $27,000 per year for 40 years for 14 defendants equals $15,120,000. $20 million just to warehouse the defendants in two cases.
Monday, the five were sentenced to life in prison. These sentences aren't going to stop piracy. They do, however, cost the U.S. a huge amount of money that could better be spent elsewhere.
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